How The Collins Lab is helping to fight COVID-19

The Audacious Project
Image from Audacious Project
Clare Kelly
by Clare Kelly
7 May 2020

The Audacious Project is a collaborative approach to funding big ideas and this week they announced The Collins Lab as one of their three 2020 grantees spearheading bold and innovative responses to COVID-19.

The Collins Lab was originally selected as one of this year's Audacious projects with their plan to launch the Antibiotics-AI Project, which over seven years will develop seven new classes of antibiotics to treat seven of the world’s deadliest bacterial pathogens.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, bioengineer Jim Collins and his team combined the power of AI with synthetic biology in an effort to combat a different looming crisis: antibiotic-resistant superbugs. 

In Jim’s TED talk (above) he explains how his team has pivoted their efforts to begin developing a series of tools and antiviral compounds to help fight COVID-19 - and shares their plan to discover seven new classes of antibiotics over the next seven years. 

With the help of synthetic biology, Jim and his team are working to create antibiotics to treat infections that occur alongside COVID-19, face masks that change color when the coronavirus is detected in the wearer, and antiviral drugs to fight the virus.

The Audacious Project was brought to life through the collaboration of some of the most respected names in the non-profit world, including Skoll, the Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationScott Cook & Signe Ostby and more. Virgin Unite is proud to be one of the key partners to have joined forces to help make this possible.

Each year, The Audacious Project supports a new cohort. The Audacious Project is proud to unveil Crisis Text Line, The Collins Lab and ACEGID as the first of eight new grantees from the 2020 cohort. With their bold solutions to COVID-19, these projects are delivering an audacious response to some of the world’s biggest – and most urgent – challenges. The remainder of the cohort will be announced in the coming weeks.